A narrative therapy approach to dealing with chronic pain— Laurel Phillips

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This article outlines a narrative therapeutic approach to working in collaboration with people experiencing chronic pain. This approach was created in concert with 13 co-researchers who were experiencing, or had partners who experienced, varying degrees of pain. Contributing therapeutic conversations spanned a ten-month period. Outcomes were achieved through the application of various narrative therapy principles including externalisation, mapping the influence of the problem, remembering practices, developing an experience-near definition of the problem, double listening, alternative or preferred story development and the use of collective documents and definitional ceremonies What emerged from this were two themes: The identification, importance and use of personally constructed strategies, and the reduction of pain experiences by addressing self-identified problems that were more pressing than pain. Narrative therapy was successful in helping to re-establish valued ways of living that chronic pain often sidelines. We found that it is possible to reduce experiences of pain by addressing more pressing problems.